Episode #513

- Elly found out that Travis hooked up with Amelia. When Travis tried to plead his case, Elly said that he can do whatever he wants, because they are just friends.
- Travis remained cold toward his mother, Claire.
- Danielle blurted out to Ryan that Elly is really her daughter.


With every tick of the clock’s hands, seconds and minutes fall away, never to be recovered. Usually, Travis Fisher is grateful for the steady passage of time during his sessions with Dr. Arcaro. But not today. Not before he has what he came here to get.

“So of course Amelia told Elly that we hooked up,” Travis says. He is a little embarrassed at recounting the story, but he knows that Dr. Arcaro has to keep things between them, and he has told him worse things, anyway.

“How did Elly take that news?” the doctor asks patiently.

“Not too well. She said she had to leave and took off. I went after her to try to talk to her, but she, like, didn’t care.”

“That it had happened, or that you tried to talk to her about it?”

“I don’t know.” Travis really has no idea what to make of Elly’s reaction. If she considers them strictly friends, why did she have to blow out of there so fast? But maybe he has been reading too much into their communication this whole time. IMing and texting is not a relationship, he knows that much.

“She kinda brushed me off,” he continues. “Said it didn’t matter to her because we’re not anything but friends, anyway.”

The doctor sits back in his chair, thoughtful and calm. “How do you feel about that?”

“Not good. I mean… I like her. I thought we’d have fun when she came back to visit.”

“Fun as in dating?”

Travis’s cheeks heat up, even though he wills them not to. “Yeah. I guess.”

“Then I have to ask,” Dr. Arcaro says, his gaze almost freakishly steady upon Travis, “if you feel like this about Elly, why did you… allow what happened with Amelia to happen?”

The fire beneath Travis’s skin increases. He looks down at his hands. “You know. I mean… I’m sixteen. She’s a girl.”

God, this is embarrassing.

“Do you have any idea how Amelia feels about it?”

“I think she thinks it’s, like, something serious. She’s been calling me a lot. I think she got annoyed when we ran into Elly. But, like, I didn’t mean to lead her on…”

“But you think you did?”

“I guess. Yeah.”

“Then you need to make things right with both of these young ladies, I’d say.”

That shift is enough to get Travis to look back up at the doctor. “How do I do that? Especially with Elly. What am I supposed to say?”

He waits as the doctor considers the question. The clock continues ticking, somehow louder than normal.

“There is no perfect answer,” Dr. Arcaro says. “All you can do is tell Elly how you really feel. Admit that you made a mistake, if you feel like what happened is a mistake.”

“That’s it? That’s all you’ve got?”

The doctor folds his hands together. “It doesn’t matter what I say, Travis. There is no magical solution. All you can do is let both of these young ladies know where you stand. The rest is up to them.”

That is so not what Travis wanted to hear.


Danielle Taylor stands amidst the too-tall grass in the backyard, watching Brent and Molly’s dog, Rex, as he sniffs around for precisely the right spot to do his business. Or, rather, pretending to watch Rex. The only thing Danielle can truly focus on is the cell phone in her hand.

She has to make this call. If she makes it, though, she will only be continuing contact that she knows she should stop. Then again, she already took things too far by spilling her guts. But she has to do damage control…

Somehow, she steps outside her own head long enough to dial the number that, despite having programmed into her phone months ago, she has never used. Ryan Moriani answers on the first ring.

“Hey there,” he says.

“I need you to do something for me,” she spits out.

Now Ryan’s response is slower, more uncertain. “Okay. What sort of something?”

“Actually, it’s more like nothing. I want you to do nothing.”

“I’m probably going to need more details than that, Danielle.”

She gives a cursory glance back toward the house, to be sure that Brent, Molly, or the twins are not watching or listening to her. Elly is upstairs, packing for her trip home, well out of earshot.

“What I told you the other day,” she says, briefly remembering what a relief it was to tell her story to someone--and what a terror it was to realize that she had put it out there, in a way that she, Melanie, and Tom cannot fully control. “You can’t repeat it. You can’t even think about it.”

“Don’t worry. It’s between you and me.”

Rex finds an appropriate spot and assumes his usual stance, glaring at her as if annoyed that she would dare intrude on such a private moment. Danielle turns her back to the pug.

“I’m sorry for unloading on you that way. I know it came out of nowhere. I probably sounded crazy.”

“No. You needed to talk. Keeping something like that to yourself… I can’t imagine. If you need to talk some more, please call me.” The line goes quiet; maybe he is waiting for a response, but it is one that she cannot give. “Your secret is safe with me. I promise.”

“Good. Thank you.” She didn’t exactly think that he would turn around and tell someone--who would he even tell, and why?--but his reassurance sounds quite sincere.

As if that means anything, coming from Ryan Moriani, her subconscious tells her.

“I should go,” she says, and with a hasty set of goodbyes, the call ends. Danielle and Rex head back inside the house, as she tries to quash the fear that she made a horrible mistake by telling Ryan her greatest secret.


Upstairs, Elly Vanderbilt hovers over an open suitcase. The clothes she brought with her are spread over the bed. They seem to have multiplied in the short time she has been in King’s Bay. She only has three or four new items, but they seem to be enough to ruin all chances of her fitting her things into this suitcase.

“Need some help?” Molly Taylor asks from the hallway.

Elly smiles and then gestures at the piles of folded clothes spread over the bed. “Probably. I don’t know how I’m going to fit all this stuff in there.”

“Here. Take a little break while we strategize,” Molly says. She comes into the room and hands Elly a glass full of raspberry smoothie. “I just made a batch of these and thought you might like one.”

“Ooh. Thanks!”

Elly gratefully accepts the glass. Molly made these a few times during her visit last winter, and Elly quickly became a fan.

“What’s the problem item in this packing situation?” Molly asks, surveying the items on the bed. “Is there one specific thing that’s messing you up?”

“Everything just seems… bigger.”

Molly starts setting the individual piles inside the suitcase. Elly can already tell that they do have a space problem, and Molly finds the same once she is about three-quarters through.

“It’s the shoes,” Molly says. “We have to do something about the shoes.”

“I always pack too many shoes.”

“Believe me, I understand.” Molly takes everything out except for the shoes and then tries to arrange them in various configurations on the bottom of the suitcase. As she goes, she asks, “Did you have a good visit?”

Elly’s answer is automatic. “Yeah. Thank you so much for letting me stay here.”

“It’s our pleasure. Danielle and the boys love having you around. So do Brent and I. Anytime you want to come and visit, you’re more than welcome.”

“Thanks.” Elly isn’t sure how often she is going to want to come back to King’s Bay, though, in light of this trip’s painfully awkward situation with Travis. Maybe Danielle can come to San Francisco and see her next time.

“Did you see Travis this time around?” Molly asks with a knowing grin.

Elly starts trying to fit things back into the suitcase. “I ran into him at his friend’s party, yeah.”


“And what?”

“Travis had mentioned that you guys were keeping in touch. I thought maybe…”

“We’re just friends!” Elly says, probably too insistently.

Molly sits up straighter, not quite sure how to react to that. Elly feels like a brat for having snapped like that.

“Sorry. I just meant…”

“It’s okay,” Molly says. “Why don’t we try to roll these shirts? That might make more room.”

Elly is all too happy to agree and focus on the packing.


After enduring a painfully silent drive home from Travis’s therapy session, Claire Fisher watches her son beeline for his bedroom. She decides to give him some time to cool off from whatever has him worked up today. The last thing she needs is to make it worse and wind up bearing the blame. Instead Claire moves to the kitchen, where she is attempting to figure out what to make for dinner when there is a knock at the door. Opening it, she finds Landon Esco.

“Travis is holed up in his room,” she says. “You’re welcome to try to get him to come out, but consider yourself warned.”

Landon comes inside. “He called me to come over.”

Great, Claire thinks. He won’t so much as give me a hint as to what’s wrong, but he can call someone else to come in and commiserate. Then she realizes that she is describing practically every teenager/parent relationship in history, and the thought helps her to relax ever so slightly.

“You don’t have to tell me anything you don’t want to,” she says carefully, “but is everything all right with Travis? I’m just… worried.”

“It’s nothing serious. Not, like, drugs or suicide or anything.”

“Well, that’s a relief,” she says, amazed by Landon’s nonchalance.

He seems to sense that she is still concerned, because he adds, “He’s having problems with the ladies.”

“Please tell me no one’s pregnant.”

Landon glances at Travis’s closed door. “Not even close. It’s a matter of… how should I put this?... misplaced affection.”

Claire isn’t sure what that means, exactly, but it sounds less dire than the things that have been going through her head.

“As in, he placed it with one young lady when it’s another one he really likes,” Landon clarifies. “The one he likes got mad and said she never liked him in the first place. Travis is bummed. End of story.”

“Thank you.” That all sounds refreshingly normal. “I was really worried. He hardly said two words the entire car ride home from the doctor’s.”

“I don’t know if you’ve noticed, Mrs. Fisher, but Travis can be a little moody from time to time. Let me have a crack at him.”

Amused, Claire watches the dark-haired boy step up to Travis’s bedroom door.


As Danielle ascends the stairs to check on Elly, she crosses paths with Molly, who is on her way down.

“She’s almost finished packing,” Molly says. “We had to do a little creative arranging, but everything fits now.”

“Thanks for helping her. You didn’t have to--”

“Please. We’re happy to have her stay here whenever she visits. I hope you know that.”

Danielle nods. “Thank you. It’s a treat to have her here.”

“She’s a good kid.”

They linger in the middle of the staircase. Danielle is sure that the silence seems strange to Molly, but she cannot bring herself to break away just yet. She is too consumed by the phone call that she just had with Ryan, with all the possibilities swirling in the air because of her impulsive decision.

“Is everything okay?” Molly asks.

“Yeah. It’s just hard to see her go, you know? I feel like I’ve missed so much of her life, moving around.”

“You’re much closer to her than my godmother ever was to me! I’m sure Elly appreciates it much more than you know.”

“I hope so,” Danielle says, and with that, she moves up the stairs, off to help her daughter get ready to return to her real life--a life in which Danielle has no part.


Despite her attempts to listen at Travis’s closed door, Claire does not glean much from the conversation between her son and Landon. When the door opens, Claire jumps backward and busies herself with dusting some knick-knacks on a side table--a carefully prepared cover that she fears is also completely transparent.

“Everything all right?” she asks as the teenagers troop out of Travis’s room.

“Yeah. Everything’s awesome,” Travis mutters.

“Do you think it’d be okay if Travis and I went out to get something to eat?” Landon asks.

“You’re welcome to stay for dinner,” she says.

“Thanks. But I think Travis could stand to get out of here, you know?”

“Of course.” Claire retrieves her purse and pulls out a few bills, which she hands to Travis. “Here. Enjoy.”

He looks at her in surprise before tentatively taking the money. “Thanks.”

The boys move for the front door, but watching her son drag his feet, Claire cannot let him go without interfering just a little.

“Travis? Could I have a word with you before you go?”

He turns back and, probably softened by the cash she just slipped him, actually walks back toward her.

“I’ll be out in a sec,” he says to Landon, who stands in the middle of the living room. When Landon fails to move, Travis says, “That was a hint to go wait in the hallway.”

“Oh. Right.” Landon slips out and closes the door behind him.

“I don’t want you to be mad at Landon,” Claire says once she and Travis are alone, “but he told me that you were having problems with a girl.”

Travis groans.

Claire presses on. “I’m not going to lecture you. I don’t really know what’s going on, and as long as you’re being safe, what you do is your business.” Travis is poised to respond, again surprised, when she continues: “But… I want you to be happy. More than anything. This girl you like, whoever she is--”


“Just let me talk for thirty seconds. Then you can go. This girl you like, have you told her how you feel?”

Travis’s face takes on a deep pink hue. “Kind of. I thought she knew, I mean. But she’s acting like she has no idea, like we’re just friends.”

“You have to tell her,” Claire says. “When your father and I first met, I wasn’t sure that he wasn’t interested. So I played it cool, or thought that’s what I was doing, and I almost missed out on something really good.”

“Why didn’t you? What happened?”

“Your dad told me how he felt. He was honest with me and said that he was interested, and if there was even a chance I might be, I should let him take me out. And the rest is history.”

Travis mulls this over for a few seconds. “Yeah, but I screwed up, too. I did something…”

“Let me guess: something stupid?” She decides to spare Travis having to tell her that he, as far as Claire can tell from Landon’s explanation, did something with another girl. “Be honest with her about it. Tell her you made a mistake. Tell her that she’s the one you really want.”

“Do you think that’ll work?”

“It can’t make things any worse, can it?”

He almost seems to perk up but again deflates. “It doesn’t matter, anyway. She’s leaving tonight.”

“Leaving for where?”

“To go home. She’s not from here.”

It is only a split-second before Claire grabs her bag again and pulls out her car keys. “Do you think you can wait to eat for a little while?”

Travis watches her move for the door. “Where are you going?”

“More like, where are we going?” Claire says. “And you’re going to have to tell me, because I don’t know.” She opens the door. “Come on, Landon, dinner is going to have to wait.”

Not sure what has gotten into her, Claire leads the two boys out of the building and to her car.


Danielle hoists the suitcase into the trunk of the car, and Elly tosses her backpack in after it.

“Do you have your boarding pass?” Danielle asks.

Elly pulls it from her pocket. “Right here.”

Molly and Brent, who have been standing by, each holding one of the twins by the hand, now step forward to say their goodbyes. Each of them gives Elly a hug.

“Thanks again for having me,” she says. Then she kneels down to say goodbye to Caleb and Christian. “I’ll come back and visit you guys soon, okay? Be good for your mom and dad and Aunt Danielle.”

She and Danielle are about to get into the car when another car pulls into the driveway behind them, with an urgency that makes everyone take notice.

“Claire?” Brent and Molly say in near-unison. Elly has no idea what is going on until Travis hops out of the passenger-side door and comes straight at her.

“I need to talk to you,” he says.

“I’m about to go to the airport. I have a flight--”

“I know. That’s why I need to do this now.” He pulls her to the side of the driveway. “I’m sorry about Amelia, okay? I… I don’t know why I did it. It was really stupid.”

Elly doesn’t know what she is supposed to say. They already had this conversation, and there is nothing else to say. She felt like an idiot, showing up with all these expectations for what it would be like to see Travis, only to find that he was hooking up with some other girl.

“I was thinking about you a lot before you visited,” he says. “And I started to freak out that you weren’t thinking the same way--or that I was making too big of a deal about it--so I guess I felt like I should do something to prove that I didn’t care. Which was stupid.”

Travis glances back at the car. Claire, obviously watching out of the corner of her eye even as she has a conversation with Molly, suddenly turns and gestures for him to… well, Elly can’t tell what, exactly, but apparently there is something that he is supposed to be doing.

“I should’ve said this way long ago,” he says, refocusing on Elly, but I kept chickening out. I just think it would suck if you go home and we stop talking, ‘cause it’s been one of my favorite things…”

Elly can feel everyone else’s eyes on them. She feels itchy and restless; her stomach is turning itself over and over and over again.

“I told you we can be friends,” she says.

“I don’t wanna be friends!” He catches himself and, with a smirk, stammers, “I mean…”

And then, without warning, his hands reach up to her face, and there is no more space between them. She feels his lips against hers.

“Ew!” she hears Caleb yell out, followed by laughter from the adults.

When they separate, Elly is immediately aware of the others watching them: Danielle, Molly, Brent, the twins, Landon, Travis’s mom. But, instead of feeling embarrassed, she feels exhilarated, somehow proud that they all witnessed this moment.

“You’re the one I like, okay?” Travis says, touching her cheek.

Elly’s heart is pounding so hard that she can feel it in her head, but she manages a smile. “I like you, too.”


Can Travis and Elly manage a long-distance relationship?
Is Claire finally making inroads with Travis?
Should Danielle worry about Ryan knowing her secret?
Come discuss this episode in the Footprints Forum!

Next Episode